President-elect Donald Trump voiced his appreciation for members of the black community who didn’t vote in the November election.
“We did great with the African American community,” he said at one of his “thank you” rallies in Hershey, Pa. “So good. Remember — remember the famous line, because I talk about crime, I talk about lack of education, I talk about no jobs. And I’d say, what the hell do you have to lose? Right? It’s true. And they’re smart and they picked up on it like you wouldn’t believe. And you know what else? They didn’t come out to vote for Hillary. They didn’t come out. And that was a big — so thank you to the African American community.”
Last week, Trump expressed similar thoughts in Michigan, another unexpected state he won. The black community “came through big league,” he said. “If they had any doubt, they didn’t vote. And that was almost as good,” he continued.
In actuality, Trump did not do well with black voters. Exit polling showed that he had the lowest level of support from black voters against any Republican in the past four decades except for Republicans running against Barack Obama.
Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by a total of 80,000 votes across all three states.
The Washington Post attributes the shift in turnout to a lower percentage of black votes represented in the electorate. One article for the post wrote, “there’s a clear correlation between the density of the black population in a county and the shift in turnout.”
Trump felt that the shift in turnout had a different root. “A bunch of people didn’t show up,” he said in Michigan, “because they felt good about me.”
Millions of voters failed to cast a ballot in the presidential race.
Bloomberg indicated before the election that the Trump campaign aimed to use indifference to Clinton as a strategic device. “Instead of expanding the electorate, [campaign chairman Steve] Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it,” Bloomberg reported.
“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” said a senior official for the Trump campaign.
The same article claimed that Clinton needed the votes of “idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans” and that “her 1996 suggestion that some African American males are ‘super predators’ is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls — particularly in Florida.”
According to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign sought to suppress votes from those critical groups in order to detract the electorate pool.
In Florida, numbers of votes decreased with higher densities of black voters in each county. In counties that are 30 percent or more black, the number of votes was down.
Suppressing black votes was a tactic of the Trump campaign, a strategy that did not rely on black voters “feel[ing] good” about Trump.